It’s that part of the year when you get the second iteration of Microsoft’s yearly Windows 10 update. In case, you choose to omit the previous one, now is a good time to update your Windows. The next major update would be Windows 20H1 in the first half of 2020. So, with that out of the way, let’s check what’s new in Windows 10 November Update.
Before we begin
Windows wouldn’t notify you about the November 2019 Update. You will have to manually check for it. To do that, type “Check for Updates” on the Start menu and click on the “Check for Updates” button on the Windows Update menu.
As of now, version 1909 has few Wi-Fi connectivity and Bluetooth issues. In case you face any of those, you can check for solutions on the Windows 10 release health dashboard.
What’s New in Windows 10 November 2019
1. Performance Improvements
According to Microsoft’s John Cable, Windows 10 Version 1909 is more of “a scoped set of features for select performance improvements, enterprise features, and quality enhancements”. So as always, you can expect some battery and performance optimization with this current stable build.
2. Brightness Slider
A subtle little change in the UI includes the integration of the brightness slider in the action center. Moreover, the Settings menu has a more contrasty gradient finish now compared to the flat look before. The lock screen now represents the user with a different user icon. Overall, there are not many changes on the UI front except a few of these.
3. Calendar Events in Taskbar
In the new update, creating calendar events is much more accessible. You can quickly add events to the Microsoft Calendar right away from the taskbar. In case you have multiple email accounts logged in, you have the option to choose anyone from the taskbar itself.
Moreover, the same calendar events can also be accessed on your Android device if you use Microsoft Mail. For instance, if you use the same Google account both on Microsoft Mail and your Android device, calendar events will be synced across Windows and your Android device. You can view the same calendar events on the “At a Glance” widget as well as ask Google Assistant about it.
The Google Assistant trick doesn’t work with GSuite accounts.
4. Online File Search
With the recent Windows 10 upgrade, the File Explorer now also searches for files on One Drive. For instance, if you search for a file named “Mockups” under the Quick Access menu, Windows will also show you suggestions from One Drive. It is a huge added bonus if you use One Drive to backup and sync files on Windows.
However, when you hit Enter the populated search results will only be local. In case you are searching within a particular drive or folder, by default the search results are local only.
5. Third-party assistants on Lock Screen
Since Windows has decided to move Cortana to the enterprise level, it was first converted into a dedicated app. Later, it was removed from the start menu search. Now with this update, Microsoft has started sidelining Cortana from Windows 10 Home. And probably not many people will miss it.
To replace it as of now, you have the Amazon Alexa app on the Microsoft Store. It is more or less ineffective as of now on Windows. But, with the huge amount of IoT devices supporting Alexa, it’s possible that in near future you can control other Alexa smart speakers and FireStick TV right from your Windows laptop. With this update, Windows allows third-party voice assistants to be accessible even on the lock screen.
6. Better Notification Customization
Finally, in the 1909 build, you have the option to mute notifications for a particular app right away from the action center. As soon as you receive a notification, now you will have a gear icon just on the notification banner. You can either hit the individual app notification settings or directly mute notifications for the particular app.
Moreover, when you hit the “Notification & actions” settings, the app will be presented in chronological order. Basically, the app that most recently sent you a notification will appear on top of the list.
In the individual app notification setting, you can now notice a few changes. There is a pictorial representation of how notification banners and notification in action center looks like. Rest, all the options are exactly the same. You can still disable individual app notification sounds, decrease or increase its priority.
As of now, there are only a few bugs in the current release. For older devices running Qualcomm Wi-Fi cards, there are intermittent connection drops. This would be fixed in a while when the OEM releases updated drivers for them.
Additionally, few Windows laptops with a Realtek Bluetooth sound card have suffered Bluetooth discovery and connection issues. Currently, updates for these devices has been stopped. In case you experience the same issue, stay tuned for updated drivers from the OEM.
If you find any more bugs, you can report and track them on the Windows release health dashboard. For people who are part of the Fast ring in the Windows Insider program, they will be moved to the Windows 20H1 build in a couple of months. Windows 10 20H1 is due for release at the end of the first half of 2020. The Microsoft blog suggests that the 20H1 will see major upgrades and features for Windows 10.
For more issues or queries regarding the Microsoft Windows 10 1909 release, let me know in the comments below.